Whenever I think of county government, an annoying ear-worm of a song pops into my head. Backed by a twangy hoedown tune at odds with the county’s New York suburban character, the TV commercial for the Westchester County Fair sang promises of “Rides and attractions! Non-stop action! Shows! Animals! Fireworks, too!”
Hokey summertime county fairs were my first exposure to efforts by local governments to reach out to the community at the county-level. But, it turns out that there’s so much more that county governments do to support and serve people in the community.
Knowing this is a horn that needs more tooting, every April National County Government Month nudges county governments to promote local programs and services that deserve attention. Even though April’s not over, county governments around the U.S. have already shared lots of fun events, community outreach programs, and creative content.
Let’s look at some of the non-stop action inspired by National County Government Month.
Summit County Utah Sheriff’s Office
Smart community outreach can help law enforcement seem approachable and show that officers are themselves members of the community they serve and protect.
The sheriff’s office in Summit County, Utah took part in a family-friendly event called Summit County Day. Later, on Facebook, the sheriff’s office shared photos of officers interacting with the community in a casual, fun way. They let kids perch on motorcycles and pet K9 pooches, grilled up hot dogs, and gave out awards to students who helped design new uniform patches.
Proving that pictures from real-life events are a great way to engage your audiences on Facebook, the photos got an impressive of engagement for a Facebook page with fewer than 1,000 followers.
Williamson County, Texas
Tapping into strong, positive emotions can go a long way to getting people to pay attention on social media. Simply put, people like to like.
Williamson County, Texas has a lot to be proud of and they make sure to celebrate what the county achieves (there’s even a hashtag, #WilCoProud). During National County Government Month, Williamson County has taught people to fish, recognized leaders in public service, and shared the results of a road bond.
What really resonated with their Facebook audience was a simple celebration of the commitment of their local emergency medical service (EMS). Given the likes and shares, the awesomeness of the local EMS crew is a sentiment that a lot of people can get behind.
WilCo EMS currently employs 146 people and runs 21 ambulances around the clock. Leaders say the team now treats approximately 25,000 patients each year. Happy County Govt. Month! #NCGM #WhyCountiesMatter
Clark County, Nevada
It helps to have a local celebrity make an appearance at your community outreach events, but it really helps if your “local” celebrity is actually nationally recognized. This is a little bit easier to achieve in Clark County, Nevada, home to Las Vegas, where even the government employees are famous.
Administrator of Clark County Museums system, Mark Hall-Patton, is often consulted as an expert on the TV show, Pawn Stars, where he’s known as The Beard of Knowledge. The announcement that the history buff would lead a free tour of the Clark County Government Center got social media buzzing—and was one of the few county governments to take to the increasingly popular Instagram to talk about #NCGM.
It’s National #County Government Month. And the Clark County Government Center turns 20 years old this year. So why not join #MarkHallPatton – the #BeardofKnowledge of #PawnStars fame– on a #free #tour of this architectural gem on Friday at 10 a.m. To register, email your name, telephone number, email address and the number of people in your party to [email protected] or call (702) 455-3546. #Vegas #history #lasvegas #ClarkCounty #architecture #lasvegas #DTLV #ClarkCountyNV #Nevada #NV #culture #downtown #NCGM
Durham County, North Carolina
Community engagement events don’t just happen in the real world, they can happen online and on social media. Durham County in North Carolina got a few of its government experts to take to Twitter to talk about the impact of transportation on county growth. During the lively #AskDCo tweetchat, people posted questions that the @DurhamCounty account reposted then answered. It was a refreshingly engaging and transparent approach by a local government to engage its community in conversations that matter.
— Durham County, NC (@DurhamCounty) April 15, 2015
Monmouth County, New Jersey
People love to be surprised by something they don’t know. Monmouth County, New Jersey decided to share surprising county facts throughout the month. The facts span many topics related to the programs and services that the Monmouth County government provides to the community. It’s a smart strategy that works both by making it easier to plan social media content ahead of time and by capturing people’s curiosity.
COUNTY FACT: Monmouth County owns and maintains approximately 2 million square feet of public buildings. #NCGM
— Monmouth County (@MonmouthGovNJ) April 7, 2015